The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Falls

    12
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Burns

    4
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Beaten

    3
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Malaria

    5
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1